Week In Review: GenScript And Its Legend Bio Subsidiary Raise $1 Billion From Hillhouse

Laboratory Test Tubes

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Deals and Financings

  • GenScript (HK: 1548) raised more than $1 billion from Hillhouse Capital in several different investments, including a $500 million commitment to GenScript's Legend Biotech (LEGN) CAR-T subsidiary (see story). Before the investments, GenScript had a market capitalization of $6 billion and Legend was worth $4 billion. GenScript's original business unit, the Life Science Group, (now one of four businesses) offers proprietary gene synthesis technology to researchers with a global market share of 30%.  
  • Elpiscience Biopharma, a Shanghai cancer immunotherapy company, closed a $105 million Series C round to start US trials of its innovative portfolio (see story). The company also plans to research novel mechanisms for cancer immunotherapy and support additional partnerships. Elpiscience has built a pipeline of 15 innovative molecules, including three candidates in clinical trials and three in-house developed molecules at the IND-enabling stage. The company says its candidates must have a differentiated biology that shows efficacy in a clinical setting platform. The C round was led by the Greater Bay Area Homeland Development Fund. 
  • Beijing Hygea Medical Technology completed a $77 million Series C financing to support its medical devices, including a low temperature minimally invasive ablation device for cancer and atrial fibrillation (see story). Hygea said it would use the proceeds to accelerate its marketing and build a sales channel for its core product. The company has started an AI program to develop new minimally invasive surgery products. It is also applying its ablation technology to treat atrial fibrillation. The financing was led by China Growth Capital.  
  • Alebund Pharma, a Shanghai company developing renal disease therapies, raised $60 million in a Series B round led by Quan Capital (see story). The company's small-molecule/biologic candidates target chronic kidney disease/dialysis complications, IgA nephropathy, diabetic kidney disease, and autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). The company's lead product is the ADPKD candidate, which is currently in a Phase II trial. It will use the proceeds from the financing to build a manufacturing site plus R&D of its portfolio. Alebund said it is the first China biopharma to focus exclusively on renal disease.  
  • Kinnate Biopharma, a San Diego biopharma. closed a $35 million Series A financing to form a China joint venture that will develop Kinnate's oncology drugs in Greater China (see story). The round was led by OrbiMed Asia Partners, with participation from OrbiMed Private Investments and Foresite Capital. Wenn Sun, PhD, a veteran biopharma executive, was appointed Executive Chair of the JV. Initially, the unnamed JV will focus on KIN-2787,  a Rapidly Accelerated Fibrosarcoma (RAF) inhibitor aimed at lung cancer, melanoma, and other solid tumors. 
  • Fulgent Genetics (FLGT) of Los Angeles made a $19 million investment in its China JV, FF Gene Biotech, to gain majority control of the China testing company (see story). In 2017, FF Gene was formed by Fulgent, Xilong Scientific, and Fuzhou Jinqiang Investment Partnership with the goal of bringing next generation sequencing technology to China's market. The JV gave Fulgent a vehicle for offering its genetic tests in China. 
  • Shenzhen Pregene Biopharma out-licensed Indian rights for its anti-BCMA CAR-T cell therapy to Dr. Reddy's Labs (BSE: 500124) (see story). Dr. Reddy's will make $5 million in upfront and milestone payments for the first indication of the therapy and $7.5 million for any additional indications. It will also pay double-digit royalties up to $150 million. Dr. Reddy's will be responsible for all development costs in India. In a China investigator-led trial, PRG1801 showed positive signs of efficacy and safety in 34 patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma.  
  • Viva Biotech (HK: 1873), a Shanghai drug discovery CRO, announced a strategic collaboration with Beijing's BioMap, which offers AI + biological computing services (see story). BioMap was formed in September 2020 by Baidu Ventures, with BV's Chief Executive Liu Wei serving as CEO, and Baidu's (BIDU) founder Robin Li as Chairman. The combination of Viva's structure-based drug discovery technology and BioMap's deep-learning AI platform is expected to accelerate novel drug R&D.  
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